ATI expansion plans to dilute Kenya’s stake in Africa reinsurer

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ATI chief executive George Otieno. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA
ATI chief executive George Otieno. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA  

Kenya’s stake at the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) is set to fall further following the multilateral reinsurer’s quest to recruit more members from West Africa.

The shareholding currently stands at 12 per cent down from 15 per cent a few years ago, as ATI plans to executes its expansion.

In 2017, ATI, which was formed in 2001 by Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) member countries with assistance from the World Bank, opened doors to Cote d’Ivoire and South Sudan.

“We are targeting West African countries through the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) regional platform, and targeting countries that have already expressed interest or provided an application,” said ATI chief executive George Otieno in Nairobi during the agency’s release of 2017 financial results.

ATI is also partnering with African Development Bank (AfDB) to sensitise countries on the benefits of joining, as well as providing concessional funding for membership subscription.

ATI has planned new offices in Benin, which will be its West African hub, Cote d’Ivoire and Ethiopia.

Chief underwriting officer John Lentaigne said in 2017 they insured projects in non-member countries like Angola, Gabon, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa to a tune of $7 billion (Sh700 billion).

ATI recorded its sixth consecutive year of growth – $2.4 billion (Sh240 billion) in gross exposures and $10 billion (Sh1 trillion) in volume of transactions.

Mr Lentaigne said it is now covering more deals that are priority for member governments.

“In Ethiopia we have a cover on a $159 million (Sh15.9 billion) loan to Ethiopian Airlines for their fleet expansion. In DR Congo, we have a cover on a $95 million (Sh9.5 billion) investment in a tin ore mine,” said Mr Lentaigne.

Last year, it underwrote its first major deals in non-member countries that contributed 21 per cent to the results.

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